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May 2023

An Interview with VPO Victoria Owner Mike Tkachuk

I grew up fishing, so being outdoors wasn’t anything new to me. But when we moved to Hinton, Alberta (right at the gateway to the Rocky Mountains), my wife Kara and I discovered many mountain activities like ski touring, hiking, backpacking and mountaineering.

It seemed like we were travelling to Jasper—which was about an hour west—every weekend to have some type of adventure. This ignited our love of the mountains and we knew we wanted to do something that involved this passion.

That’s when I made a call to the VPO Head Office and ask about opening a store. They took my info, and about an hour later, David Harley phoned. We hit it off and chatted for 45 minutes. He listed a few places that were available, and Victoria was on this list.

The thought of opening up a shop in Victoria excited Kara and I because of its beauty, weather and proximity to the mountains. It seemed to have everything we wanted. We made the move in the spring of 2017 and opened the downtown VPO.

It’s been an incredible 6 years and we are excited about where the next 6 years will take us. Being part of an small organization such as VPO has been an incredible experience and has brought us some very good friendships.

The outdoors is somewhere I love to go when life gets stressful. It allows me to slow down and remember what an amazing part of the world we live in. Recently I’ve gotten into trail running and love spending time out on the trails alone. I owe a lot to this organization and to the outdoors and trying to help equip people to get active, outside and experience some amazing adventures is something I wake up every morning excited to do.

When did the store open:

Favourite Outdoor Activities:
Hiking, running, on piste skiing, backcountry skiing, trekking, backpacking, fishing

Coffee or Tea: Coffee

Favourite Piece of Gear:
Mountain Hardwear Kor Airshell

What is on your playlist right now:
Pearl Jam & Bruce Springsteen

Best childhood memory of the outdoors?
Fishing in Northern Saskatchewan

Favourite adventure to date?
It's hard to name just one! Hiking into Berg Lake, climbing Mt. Athabasca, my 3-month trip over 4 continents with my wife, and finishing the Victoria Ironman 70.3 are top contenders.

What is on your list of adventures this season?
Mt. Baker, The Golden Hinde, and the Finlayson 50K race.

If you could travel to any country, where would you go?